World Bank to provide USD 80 mn to improve water management in HP

12:19 PM Mar 12, 2020 | PTI |
New Delhi: The World Bank will provide USD 80 million (about Rs 600 crore) loan to improve water management practices and increase agricultural productivity in selected gram panchayats or village councils in Himachal Pradesh, an official statement said Wednesday, March 11. An agreement in this regard was signed between the Government of India, Government of Himachal Pradesh and the World Bank. The Integrated Project for Source Sustainability and Climate Resilient Rain-Fed Agriculture in Himachal Pradesh will be implemented in 428-gram panchayats in 10 districts benefiting over 4 lakh smallholder farmers, women, and pastoral communities, said the finance ministry statement. In Himachal Pradesh, many of the lowland areas lack access to irrigation water and depend on decreasing amounts of rainfall during the critical monsoon season. Agricultural production and snowlines have already shifted to higher altitudes, impacting the production of fruits, including HP's iconic apples. Climate change is also expected to increase average temperatures and decrease rainfall in the lowlands, while both temperatures and rainfall are expected to increase in the highlands, which could lead to more extreme flooding events. "The project will improve upstream water sources in forests, pastures, and grasslands and ensure sufficient water is available for sustainable agriculture both in Himachal Pradesh and in downstream states," the ministry said. The USD 80-million loan has a final maturity of 14.5 years including a grace period of five years.

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